One way or another reading has played a large part in my life, at home and at work, so it’s not surprising that I was given a calendar called Women Reading a few years ago (that’s pictures of women reading, not pictures of women from Reading) and since then I’ve been saving images of paintings, drawings and photographs on the same subject. It’s amazing how many of them there. I can start with our old friend Hugh Thomson (I am unable to stop myself linking to other posts featuring pictures by Thomson but as it’s Christmas you can rest your mouse finger if you wish and follow him up at your leisure.)
Miss Fanny reading in Quality Street the play by J M Barrie.
Or here, in his illustrations to Goldsmith’s She stoops to conquer.
“I have seen her and her sister cry over a book for an hour together”
Sometimes the book gets dropped in favour of just nodding off.
(From The Admirable Crichton“.) I admit to dropping off now and again while reading.
But others are quite attentive.
We’ve seen examples of reading while walking along before. Which is a tricky activity.
As is reading when you’re supposed to be working.
Thomson has another example of shelf searching in Northanger Abbey.
Reading is supposed traditionally to be a leisurely activity suitable for respectable young ladies. Like this one:
But sometimes they turn to more urgent reading matter.
One of my favourites by Haynes King showing two young country women taking an interest in current affairs. I came across a variation, catching the two on another day, exchanging places I think.
As a librarian, I can only approve, even if the spinning doesn’t get done. Women reading newspapers is almost a sub set of the genre.
Sometimes at breakfast, like this woman.
And this one, another favourite.
This picture by the Danish artist Laurits Andersen Ring of his wife Sigrid might be familiar to you. My fellow bloggers the Two Nerdy History Girls use it for their Breakfast Links feature. Anyone who hasn’t seen the blog already should check it out. (I had the pleasure of meeting one of the two, Loretta Chase, earlier this year when she and her husband were in London, to give you an idea of the dizzy social life bloggers lead.)
Some ladies prefer to read their newspapers in the evening.
Once you start looking for pictures with this theme you find more and more. I’ve already exceeded my quota for a short post. Perhaps I should end with one in a library.
Serious study in progress.
But no, there’s time for a couple more. Indoors.
Maybe that’s the end.
Sorry to disturb you Madam, go back to your book.
It only remains for me to add that I am currently reading Adam Gopnik’s Through the children’s gate, Frances Hardinge’s A skinful of shadows and a couple of others and expect to be starting M John Harrison’s You should come with me now, and Andy Weir’s Artemis, sometime soon.
A happy Christmas to all my readers. As Dave Allen used to say: “May your god go with you”. This applies to us atheists as well.